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Bipartisan bill will streamline transportation security credentialing

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 11, 2023) — U.S. Reps. Adam Smith (D-WA, 9th) and Garret Graves (R-LA) last week introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 5840 – the Transportation Security Screening Modernization Act – to eliminate the redundant fees and background checks for essential transportation workers. The bill cuts through red tape to allow workers to apply existing valid background checks to multiple TSA-managed credentialing programs, preventing workers from going through identical processes multiple times.

This new streamlining legislation will reduce costs and hassle for workers like truck drivers, pipeline operators, longshoremen, and warehouse managers, among many others, who must obtain these credentials as a condition of employment.

“I’ve heard from many transportation workers in my district who have had to spend a significant amount of time and money to keep their required credentials up to date,” Smith said. “The legislation we introduced would create a more streamlined application and renewal process, reducing unnecessary hurdles for transportation workers, a crucial workforce in our economy. I am thrilled to have the support of Teamsters, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, Washington State Labor Council (WSLC), and the American Trucking Association and look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this important piece of legislation.”

WSLC President April Sims praised the introduction of H.R. 5840.

“The workers who keep America’s supply chains running deserve a federal credentialing process that respects their time and money,” Sims said. “The Transportation Security Screening Modernization Act addresses redundancies and other inefficiencies in the current system to reduce costs and hassles while maintaining effective screening of employees. This is a long-overdue solution for essential workers in the transportation trades who must obtain credentials as a condition of employment. Organized labor strongly supports this legislation and we commend Representatives Garret Graves and Adam Smith plus the other co-sponsors for their leadership on this important issue.”

Smith serves as ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee and Graves is the Chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee. Joining them in introducing the legislation were U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Reps. Michael Guest (R-MS), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Salud Carbajal (D-CA).

The Transportation Security Screening Modernization Act does not make any modifications to the back-end security assessment conducted on individual applicants, ensuring that applicants must undergo the same level of review as they do under current law. This bill simply modernizes the consumer-facing applicant process to reduce the burden on American transportation workers who must maintain more than one TSA credential, such as the Transportation Worker Identification Credentials and Hazardous Materials Endorsements.

For more information, see this fact sheet for the Transportation Security Screening Modernization Act and the full list of endorsements.

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